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December 9, 2020

Big C surpasses 1100 Welfare Packs delivered and on course to deliver over 240 Care Packages

Big C's Welfare Packs and Care Packages

By Steven Ho

After Big C’s Centres closed in March, our charity had to quickly adapt the way in which we provide support to people in Norfolk and Waveney affected by cancer, especially those who were advised to shield throughout lockdown.

Welfare Packs

Laura Woods, Deputy Centre Manager and Counselling Coordinator, and Julie Taaffe, S&I Nurse, displaying Welfare Packs which are delivered to people living in cancer.

One new service that we began this year is our Big C’s Welfare Packs service, whereby we put together a package of essential, practical, and comforting items for people living in Norfolk affected by cancer to remind them that Big C are still here for them. The packs are delivered monthly by one of our Big C drivers.

Over the last seven months, our welfare packs have contained items including:

  • Hand cream/soap
  • Pocket tissues
  • Non-fiction and fiction books
  • Anti-stress colouring books
  • Mindfulness activity books
  • Colouring pencils
  • Gel eye masks
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Handwarmers
  • Toilet rolls
  • Knitted bobble hats (kindly donated by Angeline Baran)
  • Herbal teabags
  • Biscuits (the majority of which were donated by North Walsham High School and our Jill Watkinson aka ‘Biscuit Jill’)
  • Pasta (kindly donated by Pasta Foods)
  • Water
  • Crisps
  • Hand sanitiser (made by scientists at the University of East Anglia and kindly donated to Big C), and
  • Sun cream

This December, we are proud to have reached the milestone of delivering more than 1100 Big C Welfare Packs to those in need!

Below are just a few quotes from people who have received our welfare packs over the last 7 months:

“Thank you so much for my support pack. It was a lovely surprise. Everything in it had something I've been able to use. The colouring book has been really nice and has helped me cope whilst being socially isolated. It's nice to know someone is thinking of you. Everyone at the Big C is so nice and friendly.”

“I would like to say thank you for my package which arrived today. How lovely. It was a real cheer up. Lovely book to read, colouring books and crayons, much needed loo roll, yummy shortbread, and crisps. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

“Was just outside in my garden when a very nice man in a Big C van turned up with a lovely goodie bag for me. I can’t tell you how much that brightened my day! Thank you so much for arranging the delivery, especially the much sought after hand sanitiser! Altogether a very thoughtful gesture and very much appreciated!”

Care Packages

A photo of Big C's care packages which are given to people who have recently undergone cancer treatment.

In June, thanks to a grant from the Norfolk & Norwich Hospitals Charity we were also able to start providing Big C Care Packages.

These care packages include a collection of carefully selected items, presented in a wrapped hamper, designed to support cancer patients having time sensitive treatment at the COVID free Spire Norwich Hospital.

Items include:

  • Information booklets
  • Extra soft toothbrushes
  • Mild tasting mouthwash
  • Moisturising lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Aromatherapy roller balls
  • Mindfulness puzzle books
  • Colouring books
  • Colouring pencils
  • Gel eye masks
  • Memory Foam neck cushions
  • Spa slippers
  • Big C heart shaped cushions (kindly handmade and donated by numerous Big C supporters)
  • Herbal teabags
  • Anti-nausea wristbands
  • Boiled sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Digital thermometer
  • Hand sanitiser (kindly donate by UEA)
  • Smartphone battery power banks
  • Notebooks
  • Flasks for hot and cold liquids, and
  • Pocket tissues

Recently, we have also included a 3 month premium subscription to the Calm app, the world’s #1 meditation app, to help people cope with their stress, anxiety and sleep any problems.

To date, we have created and delivered over 240 care packages.

Trudy Garriock, Specialist Nurse and coordinator of the care packages at the hospital at Spire Hospital in Norwich, said: “It’s been a privilege to receive the care packages from the Big C each week to distribute to patients undergoing surgery for cancer at Spire Norwich hospital.

“The response I get when I deliver the packages after surgery is overwhelming. I have had patients who are tearful at such a nice gesture. They all say that these little baskets make all the difference to them in what is usually a very difficult time. On behalf of all my patients, a huge thank you to the Big C.”

We also received this lovely email from a recipient of a care package:

“I write to express my sincere thanks to Big C for the totally unexpected hamper of goodies which I found awaiting me in a room at the Spire hospital after I awoke from a surgical procedure to remove a suspected breast tumour. The wide range of the gifts is impressive and so well thought out, from the heart under-arm and the circular neck cushions, to the eye mask, body lotion and lip balm, through to teabags and sweeties, and to the mental wellbeing item of puzzle book and crayons. The practical items such as thermometer, battery phone charger, anti-sickness wristbands and - especially under the current circumstances - the sanitising liquid are of real use and much valued. Thank you!”

Thank you!

Both the Welfare Packs and the Care Package services, and the support and information that Big C offer overall, would not be possible without the amazing support of Big C’s supporters – from individuals to organisations – who have kindly donated to support our cause. Our biggest and sincerest thank you to every one of them.

For more information on Big C’s cancer support services call our Telephone Support Line at 0800 092 7640 (free to call Monday to Friday from 9.00am-5.00pm) or email support@big-c.co.uk

Steven Ho is the Charitable Operations Support Officer at Big C.

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